A new study conducted by researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) utilized computational modeling to identify human genome mutations that likely impacted the evolution of human cognition.
This novel inquiry into human genomics has two significant impacts. It may lead to the discovery of advanced complex brain disorder treatments, as well as a more well-rounded understanding of human health overall.
A distinct feature of human evolution is human cognition since it differentiates us from other primates.
While over 100 million gene mutations have occurred since the human-chimp split, though, scientists have only found a minute number to be significant.
So, researchers from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) set out to explore this massive realm of genomic change.
They developed an artificial intelligence (AI) model of human brain gene regulation– which ultimately pinpointed thousands of mutations that likely impact neocortical development and facilitate the gain of mathematic abilities via modified mechanisms of brain gene regulation.
When researchers sequenced the human genome in 2001, they discovered that just 2% of our genomic sequence is used for coding genes– which turn into proteins. Then, this information is utilized by every single cell in our bodies.
However, the function of “noncoding DNA,” which makes up the other 98% of our genome, has remained largely unknown.
It is also thought that approximately 95% of disease associations are hidden within this noncoding portion.